12 CTE Policy Questions for the 2012 School Year--Question 4: What is the Impact of Sequestration?
August 12, 2012
In the third question of our “12 Questions” blog series, we addressed the possible Perkins funding allocation for the 2013 school year. As was discussed, in addition to the work Congress must do to finalize the appropriations bill in order to determine funding, there is one big wild card—sequestration!
What exactly is sequestration? Last summer, the Budget Control Act of 2011 created the “Super Committee” of Members of Congress who were tasked with creating a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget in the next 10 years. Their failure to reach an agreement triggered a provision in that law, known as sequestration, that will institute an automatic across-the-board cut to the federal budget on January 2, 2013—affecting both domestic and defense programs equally. The exact percentage of the cut is not known, but most estimates are in the 8-10 percent range for each program.
So exactly what will happen if the cuts aren’t averted? While there are still numerous questions on exactly how sequestration will work, the Department of Education recently provided some new information about the impact of budget sequestration on education programs, offering clarification on an issue that will directly affect funding for Perkins. This guidance clarified that no cuts will be made to Perkins in the 2012 school year. Instead, the across-the-board cut will all be taken from the July 2013 distribution of funds. Whatever that percentage ends up being, it will be applied to the total amount available from Fiscal Year 2013 and then subtracted from the July funding. A chart outlining exactly how this will work is available here.
To avoid these cuts, Congress will have to either amend the Budget Control Act or come to an agreement on cuts in specific areas before January. As the date of sequestration approaches, there are numerous efforts underway to fight these cuts and concern is growing among Members of Congress about their impact. While much of the attention in the media and from policymakers has been on defense spending, ACTE is working with hundreds of other groups on fighting the cuts to domestic spending as well.
While sequestration sounds a bit arcane and arbitrary, the reality is that it could have a much bigger impact on you than any of the recent cuts to Perkins or other proposals currently on the table. It is critical that you make sure Members of Congress recognize the impact of cuts and the damage they would do to your programs. You can read more about sequestration here.